May 27, 2010

Dear Ben, Month 8

Dear Ben,

Your balance is steadily improving and you're getting better at moving around "one-handed." Twice now, I've heard reports of you letting go and standing on your own for a few seconds. I have yet to actually see it, and therefore refuse to believe it. You're still my baby, after all.

I know you'll be walking soon . . . sooner than I can probably imagine. Although the summer is coming and you'll be spending your days at camp, which isn't always conducive for a crawler to get lots of practice. That's OK. Just take your time.

We were at your dad's baseball game two weeks ago, and I realized that every time the music came on between innings, you started bobbing back and forth. So for the last two weeks, whenever I've needed a laugh, I ask you to dance . . . and you do. You kind of looking like a little penguin the way you rock back and forth.

You dance and jabber like crazy and will do something over and over and over again if you know that it'll make us laugh. You're becoming a little ham. You give me a squinty-eyed smile that we refer as your cheese face whenever you're in the mood to preform. I love it when you say, "Ma ma ma" because even though I know you're not calling me, it sounds like you are. The other day, I was walking into the room that you were in and it sound like you said, "Mom?" Your Dad and I laughed and I responded, "Yes, Ben? What can I do for you?"

We've had to start using the "N" word this month . . . I say "no, no, no Ben" quite a bit. And it's amazing how quickly you've learned to stop doing something when I say "no, no." You usually pause and look at my while deciding if you'll continue, or crawl away. I'd say you choose to continue about 50% of the time.

And when you continue, and I have to come and remove you from the situation, you have no problem letting me know exactly how you feel. And there's no way for me to help you understand why it's important that you don't crawl into the dishwasher, or play with the carbon monoxide detector. You just have to do it because I said so.

But you should know that you can trust me. I'm not perfect, but I have your best interest at heart and want you not only to stay safe, but to learn to obey. Our rules are there for a reason and learning to obey your parents is good practice for learning to obey God.

I discipline because I love you. And I really, really love you.


May 26, 2010


The last time temperatures were this high during May was three years ago.


I remember May of 2007 quite vividly. Three years ago today was my due date. I was sitting and waiting to feel twinges that would signal that "it was time." I had no idea what I was in for.

Much of this week's HIMYM episode (have I mentioned lately how in love I am with that show?), centered around doppelgangers. Toward the end of the show, Ted says, "We've all been searching for the five doppelgangers, right? Well eventually, over time, we all become our own doppelgangers. These completely different people who just happen to look like us. Five years ago? That girl was pretty great. But doppelganger Robin? She's amazing."

That really resonated with me (as deeply as a quote from a sitcom can, I suppose). I feel like I'm a completely different person than I was three years ago. Being a mother has changed me for the better and I've discovered this whole new "self" that I never even knew existed before June 2, 2007.

I've heard moms say that they felt like they were missing something before they had their children . . . but I never really felt that way. I felt complete . . . whole . . . even before I was married and had kids. If you're getting married or having kids to fill some sort of void . . . well, good luck with that.

But I will say that being a mom (and a wife) revealed things about me that were already a part of me, without me even knowing it. Both good and bad.

Marriage and children revealed a selfishness in me that I never realized was there and started me on an often painful process of weeding it out . . . one that continues to this day.

They also revealed a capacity to love that was far greater than I realized.

Motherhood helped me rediscover the Gospel and the process of discipleship in a way that is applicable to even the smallest of humans.

During my time as a mom, I discovered a whole new level of creativity through graphic design and photography that had not yet been realized. I often wish that I had realized this potential more before my children were born so that I could have had more time to spend on it . . . but I truly believe that in my case, God has used the inspiration of my children to develop these gifts.

So, I agree with Ted. I'm my own doppelganger. I'm a better version of who I was three years ago. For me, it was through my husband and children, but even if you're not married or don't have kids, there are things in your life that regularly challenge you to change . . . to become more of who God intends for you to be.

As I think about where I was three years ago (completely unaware that I still had a week before my sweet boy would enter the world), I can't help but pray that three years from now, I'll be a renewed version of who I am now.

May 25, 2010

The best medicine

There is little that I won't do to get my boys to laugh. It doesn't matter how awful my day has been . . . when they laugh, it melts my heart.

The other day, I kissed Ben's hand and he started chuckling like it was the funniest thing I've ever done.

Untitled from Sara on Vimeo.

It totally reminded me of this video of Jack from when he was just a week or two older than Ben is now.

Untitled from Sara on Vimeo.

May 19, 2010

In fifteen minutes or less

  • MOTHER'S DAY! I can't believe I haven't written about mother's day yet. Kyle took the boys out on Saturday to buy me a gift . . . which was, in reality, the best gift they could have given me. A few hours at home alone . . . glorious! They also let me sleep in on Sunday and Kyle handled almost all of Ben's messy diapers. It was great.
  • Brian and Debbie have moved from Ohio back to Michigan and they'll be at camp ALL SUMMER! This is thrilling to me. They were at our house baking a cake last weekend and let Jack help them decorate. Notice Brian's method of decorating the sides of the cake . . . classic.
  • Are you watching Lost? If not, you should be! Or should have been (it's kind of late to start now). I've been reading that people are confused by this season, but I can't believe how well it's all coming together. The religious themes throughout are unmistakable (taking the cup offered by his mother and drinking . . . so well written). I think this is the best season yet! Nice job, J.J. Abrams. You've come a long way since Felicity.
  • Other new shows I'm loving: Glee, The Good Wife, Parenthood, Modern Family, The Middle . . . so funny!
  • Jack's active imagination never fails to entertain. I wrote about his imaginary baseball games and basketball coaching that he does, and the enthusiasm and drama with which he tells me about it. But his most recent thing is to pretend we're a family of animals . . . the type of animal changes almost hourly. He'll inquire about something by saying, "Mama Bumblebee?" And if I don't answer "Yes, Jack bumblebee?" he gets very grumpy. Some days we live in a hive. On other days, we live in a barn. I will admit that I have to fight acting offended when he refers to me as "Mommy cow."

May 18, 2010

A poopy day . . .

Literally and figuratively.

Yesterday was not good. I won't go into all of the gory details, but I would rather go through a full day of both kids vomiting than what I went through with Jack yesterday. Ugh . . .

I haven't written much of substance lately because, well, substance takes time. It bothers me that these days are going undocumented because the boys are changing so quickly. Jack is starting to recognize words, and one of his favorite things to do is trace letters . . . I actually use that as a reward sometimes.

Ben is babbling like crazy and has pretty much caught up on all of the sounds that I was worried that he wasn't making. Yesterday, he spent the entire day just changing, "Ya ya ya ya ya ya ya . . . " He's becoming a little ham too, and if we laugh at him, will repeat whatever it is he's doing to make us laugh until we stop. He knows how to keep us entertained. When he says "ma ma ma" or "da da da" we always respond as if he's calling us.

Kyle's finishing up the baseball season . . . well, not really. He still has 16ish games left. I'm ready for it to be done. We're both working to get ready for the summer and I'm trying to keep my head above water with design stuff. I'm realizing that I'll have about 80 portrait books going home with kids in Chicago in a couple of weeks, with my website address on the back. Which means, I should probably get my website up and running. This had not occurred to me until recently.

OK . . . back to work.

May 15, 2010

A sneak peek for Josiah (and his parents)

Josiah is (almost) one! This boy is seriously cute.

My favorite part of the entire session was watching how proud he looked to be walking next to his mom.

I loved meeting this little guy and catching up with his mom (it had been more years than I can count since I had seen her).

And, I promise that I will get my photography blog up soon so that every other post won't be photos!

May 10, 2010

My sweet Bennett . . .

Here are two videos of Ben that are guaranteed to make 4.5 out of 5 people smile.

Untitled from Sara on Vimeo.

Untitled from Sara on Vimeo.

May 7, 2010

It's been a month

My life in twitter updates from the last month (and in reverse order). . .

May 5, 2010 Caught red handed.

May 3, 2010


There are moments when I'm out w/ my boys & I get them strapped into the car, that I wait to get in for a few seconds to enjoy the peace.

I'm watching the news and Jack says, "Oh, man! I do NOT like oil!"
Wishing I'd let him go down and play with his brother . . .

Jack knows how to get the crowd excited . . .

April 26, 2010 Have I mentioned that Kyle cleaned the house while I was gone? Because he did. Bathrooms and everything. April 22, 2010 Future surgeon scrubbing in?
Me: You're doing a great job, Jack! Jack: That's because I'm a great jobber.

Ben took his first tumble . . . and I think it shook me more than it did him.

When people being interviewed on the news use words that aren't really words (like "progressment") I shift uncomfortably in my chair.

April 19, 2010

Bennett about had a meltdown when he ran out of Cheerios. The kid really likes his toasted oats, I guess.

Why are power buttons always pretty and glowy, thus making them attractive to little hands that shouldn't be touching them?

April 18, 2010 There's a fine line between old and new . . . one man's "modern" is another man's "retro."

Kyle totally cleaned the kitchen from top to bottom last night. And Jack just undid it with one sneeze with a mouth full of cereal.

April 16, 2010 I just got the first fat lip I've ever had. And it was from a 6 month old.
When I start to type a question into google, and the question auto-completes . . . it makes me feel less alone.

April 14, 2010

"Why, Mommy? Why do I ask so many questions?"

Jack announced our address to everyone we saw on our walk. He might as well have followed with, "We're not home & our doors are unlocked."

I dared Jack to eat an onion slice & told him he could watch a show if he did. I've never seen him shove anything in his mouth so quickly.

April 13, 2010

Oh good . . . I was so hoping that Ben would have the same fascination with getting into trash that Jack always had.

April 12, 2010

jodobird @saraluke Today he told me not to shoot the nerf dart at people or he'd have to take it away from me. :)

Jack is in his room singing, "Rudolph the red nosed reindeer . . . hallowed by thy name."

Jack: Look at all the stickers I stuck on my shirt! Me: Not stickers, Jack. Postage stamps.
Jack: Remember when I used to obey all the time? Me: I have a faint recollection . . .

April 10, 2010

Kyle: Would you like an apple for a snack. Jack: No, it's too juicy. Kyle: How about some carrots. Jack: No, they're too . . . orange-y.

April 9, 2010

If Kyle knows that the elephant noise makes Ben cry, why does he insist on doing it so often?

May 5, 2010

Dear Jack, Month 35

Dear Jack,

You have a wild imagination. You play 3 - 4 games a day . . . well, at least in your head you do. They're usually baseball games, but once in a while, you throw a football or a basketball game in there.

You give me play by plays of what happens in each game, including what position you played (although sometimes you're the coach) and what the score was. If your team won, you tell me with great enthusiasm. And if you team lost, you tell me with head down and in a very sad tone.

One morning last week, you were sitting by the window watching the rain fall and you had a really sad look on your face. I asked you why you looked so sad, and you said you were bummed out that your baseball game was canceled. You're such a funny kid.

You also have various imaginary friends, based on people you know or have heard of in real life. The first was Lillian, but she hasn't been around in a while. The most recent is Leigha . . . . whose name I know is spelled that way because the imaginary friend is based on someone who actually works at camp. You tell me that you're going outside to play baseball with Leigha, or sometimes that Leigha can't come over to play because she's at school.

When you tell me of your games and your adventures with friends, you use words and phrases that crack me up. You tell me of your "mishaps" and will stop mid-story to ask, "Does that make sense?" Sometimes it feels like I'm talking to a miniature adult.

This month, something you've said to me quite a bit is, "I love being your little boy." I think it's in response to how much I tell you that I love being your mom. Quite often you ask me what I want to be when I grow up and I always respond, "Your mom."

You turn three next month and it takes my breath away to think about it. I feel like we hit a whole new level at age three. From here on out you'll start remembering more and more of your childhood and I know it's crazy, but that feels like a lot of pressure for me. What things that I do and say today, will you be repeating and laughing about when your 15? Which of today's mistakes will you one day be discussing with your therapist?

You are so loved Jack. Loved by God, loved by your Dad and I . . . loved by pretty much everyone who knows you.

And of everything that you'll someday remember, that's what I hope you remember the most.


May 4, 2010

As overheard at bedtime tonight

I was singing "It is Well" to Jack at bedtime, and we were on the verse that says, "my sin, not in part, but the whole."

Jack: What does "not in part but the whole" mean?
Me: Hmmm . . .well, it means that Jesus died to save us from ALL of our sin, not just part of it.
Jack: What sin?
Me: Well, everything we do that is disobedient to God. It's called sin.
Jack: Why did those bad men put Jesus on the cross?
Me: They didn't understand who he was. They didn't believe that Jesus was who he said he was.
Jack: Because they were skunks?
Me: Yes, because they were skunks.
Jack: I believe Jesus. Not the skunks.
Me: I'm so glad to hear that.

He reflected for a moment and almost fell asleep.

Jack: So, who did Moses die for?

May 3, 2010

Sept Mois

Bennett turned 7 months old last week. His lovely little personality is starting to show itself more and more. He babbles and spits A LOT and tries to mimic one particular sound that we make (that doesn't translate well to writing). Other than that, he doesn't say nearly as much as Jack did as his age. It's tempting to worry about that, but he's ahead of the game in every other area and to be honest . . . I don't have time to worry about it!

In general, he's extremely happy. He's very attached to Kyle and I, but still loves to play by himself. He has no fear when it comes to exploring the house and trying to climb into things (laundry baskets, shipping boxes, etc.) and he leaves a fun little trail of drool everywhere he goes. Which is ok, because the drool serves as the proverbial breadcrumbs that sometimes help me figure out where he's wandered off to.

For a while, we'd been trying to get him to throw his hands up in the air whenever we asked "How big is Bennett?" and then followed up with the reply, "SO BIG!" But all he would do is grab my thumbs . . . so that I could lift his hands up in the air for him. He didn't really get that I was trying to get him to do it by himself. Over the weekend, he figured it out.

We have to be careful though, because he puts his hands up in the air and then slams them back down repeatedly . . . and if he's in his high chair, cheerios will go flying everywhere. Which, for him, makes it that much more fun.

It seems like his look changes every day. I swear that he wakes up every morning looking like an older child.

Ben does not like:
  • Running out of cheerios
  • Having unsafe toys taken away
  • His brother trying to ride him like a horse, complete with reins around his neck . . . and I can't blame him
  • Outlet covers
  • Peas and brown rice
Ben loves:
  • Cheerios
  • Playing with toys that aren't his
  • Wrestling (gently) with his brother
  • Disappearing into another room when mom turns her back for more than 10 seconds
  • Climbing stairs
  • Opening and closing drawers and cabinets
  • Being tossed up in the air by mom and dad
  • Playing with the carbon monoxide detector
  • Playing outside
  • Sweet potatoes

May 2, 2010

kelsey + mike, part 1

I had great intentions of writing this week . . . I feel like I have so much to share! Alas, it's Sunday and I have no time to write . . . but I will share photos from a weekend session.

Kelsey is one of Jack's babysitters and we're so glad she's home from college. We're even more excited that she and Mike are getting married because it means she'll be staying in the area this fall!

Here's a sneak peek from Saturday . . . you can't even tell it was raining!